Badger men's track and field to start NCAA competition with 19 a - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Badger men's track and field to start NCAA competition with 19 athletes

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MADISON, Wis. -- The No. 14-ranked Wisconsin men’s track and field team will be well represented in next week’s 2014 NCAA West Preliminary Round, as the Badgers will send 19 athletes looking to punch their tickets to the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Wisconsin has 20 total entries in the preliminary round meet held at John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville, Arkansas, giving UW representation in 14 of the 20 events.

The competition in Fayetteville serves as the opening round of the NCAA outdoor championships for programs in the West Region and is one of two preliminary round meets. Schools in the East Region will send their athletes to compete in Jacksonville, Florida.

Along with the Badgers’ preliminary round qualifiers, junior Zach Ziemek has qualified directly to the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Championships in the decathlon based on his personal-best score of 7,860 points, set at the Bulldog Decathlon in April. Ziemek’s score ranks fourth in the country. The decathlon is the only men’s event to not be contested at the preliminary round sites.

In all other events, competitors will work to be among the top 12 athletes (or six relay teams) from each preliminary-round site that advance to the NCAA finals in Eugene, Oregon, June 11-14.

Senior Mohammed Ahmed will double, competing in the 5000 and 10,000 meters, as Ahmed won the 5000 and finished second in the 10,000 at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships. Ahmed enters with the region’s third-best time in the 5000 meters.

Reed Connor, the Big Ten champion in the 10,000 meters, will instead race in the 5000 meters while Michael Van Voorhis will make his preliminary round debut in the 10,000.

The Badgers have two of the top-10 seeds in the 1500 meters, as Austin Mudd and Alex Hatz will represent the Cardinal and White in the event. The duo each had qualifying times in the 800 meters, but decided to focus on the 1500 meters.

Alex Brill has the sixth seed in the 3000-meter steeplechase, marking the fourth time in his career the senior has earned a spot in the preliminary round.

Carl Hirsch and Babatunde Awosika make their regional debuts in the 800 and 400 meters, respectively, while the Badgers will run a 4x400-meter relay squad at the prelims.

In the throws, Danny Block represents the Badgers in both the shot put and the discus, while junior Alex Thompson joins Block in the discus. Michael Lihrman, the Big Ten record-holder in the hammer throw, is joined by teammate Scott Erickson in the event. For the second-straight year, Ben Schreib will compete in the javelin at the preliminary round.

Collin Taylor and Ziemek will compete in the high jump, while Ziemek will also partake in the long jump. Redshirt freshman Jesse Johnson, coming off a sixth-place showing at the Big Ten meet, participates in the pole vault.

The preliminary-round model is in its fifth year and will use Fayetteville as the site of the West Preliminary Round for the first time. The Badgers qualified 20 athletes to last year’s meet, 25 athletes in 2012, 18 for the 2011 event and 23 athletes to the first preliminary round in 2010.

NCAA West Preliminary Round Qualifiers

Wisconsin Men

400 Meters

40. Babatunde Awosika (47.12)

800 Meters

43. Carl Hirsch (1:50.12)

1500 Meters

4. Austin Mudd (3:40.16)

9. Alex Hatz (3:42.10)

5000 Meters

3. Mohammed Ahmed (13:28.02)

11. Reed Connor (13:39.34)

10,000 Meters

23. Mohammed Ahmed (29:06.50)

24. Michael Van Voorhis (29:06.65)

3000 Steeplechase

6. Alex Brill (8:47.32)

4x400 Relay

21. Awosika, Davis, Payne, Thompson (3:09.55)

High Jump

35. Collin Taylor (6-11 (2.11m))

41. Zach Ziemek (6-10 3/4 (2.10m))

Pole Vault

29. Jesse Johnson (17-1 1/2 (5.22m))

Long Jump

40. Zach Ziemek (24-5 3/4 (7.46m))

Shot Put

11. Danny Block (62-0 1/4 (18.90m))

Discus

12. Danny Block (191-3 (58.29m))

14. Alex Thompson (190-1 (57.94m))

Hammer Throw

3. Michael Lihrman (233-3 (71.10m))

27. Scott Erickson (201-0 (61.27m))

Javelin

14. Ben Schreib (219-10 (67.02m))

NCAA Outdoor Championships Qualifiers

Decathlon

4. Zach Ziemek (7,860 points)

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